Paramount PicturesA year after debuting in a Chicago blues club, the iconic post-war musical Grease orchestrated its way onto Broadway on this day in 1972. Much of the gritty, midwestern drama and sass was torqued along its route to Hollywood in 1978, but so goes the editing process. Sandy was still the veritable girl to chase and Danny was still the Burger Palace Boy to hop in a hot-rod and do it. And even though creator Jim Jacobs vindicated all the original sketches, scenes, songs and swears in a one-off 2011 production, the squeaky-clean ’78 silver-screen edition is still a classic homage to some of the chug-a-lug and hip-shot guitar pillars of rock and roll, which is one of the things that inspired Jacobs to write the story in the first place. Or in the lyrics of John Travolta as Danny, “This car could be systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic – why it could be GREASE LIGHTNIN’!” And besides, there’s still some racy bits in there. Dig on that last line of the chorus, for starters:

Go, greased lightnin’, you’re burnin’ up the quarter mile
Greased lightnin’, go greased lightnin’
Go, greased lightnin’, you’re coastin’ through the heat lap trials
Greased lightnin’, go greased lightnin’
You are supreme, the chicks’ll cream for greased lightnin’